High School Campers Band Together to Save Anaphylactic Hiker in Remote Area


A group of High Schoolers from Te Puke High School in New Zealand were camping in Karangahake Gorge on the first day of an adventure journey. Led by teachers Jade Humphrey and Saskia Ualesi, their adventure had just begun.

Said Jade:

We were playing cards and were complaining about how boring it was and how long dinner was away and then we saw this boy who was 12 or 13 running down the campsite towards us.

The boy pled for help for his sister who he said was having an allergic reaction in an area about a third of a mile away.

Saskia grabbed the first aid kit and followed the boy.

He was faster than me and I was trying to talk to him as I was sprinting. It sounded like it was anaphylactic shock, so I said “here’s the EpiPen, run it ahead to an adult.”

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The girl suffering the reaction was 18. By the time Saskia arrived on the scene, her boyfriend had already administered the epinephrine auto-injector.

She wasn’t able to breathe, she’d swollen up, had a rash and her vision had gone. She was quite distressed.

Students Sebastian Rollins and Harrison Matthews made their way to the spot which involved passing through a tunnel.

“There was this cave and you had to duck down to go through it, and use a torch [flashlight],” said Harrison.

The two made a number of trips back and forth throughout the ordeal as their walkie-talkies had no coverage beyond the tunnel due to the rock’s mass.

Said Sebastian:

We couldn’t talk and couldn’t pass information to the other groups, so if we had to tell them something, we had to run back and by the time we got there there was other information that needed to be said.

All the while, students Georgia Pipe, Mollie Wilton and Jules Delaere were sent in the opposite direction to search for a cellphone signal to call the emergency services.

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Said Mollie:

We had no info about the girl and they were asking us ‘is she alive?’ and we had to say ‘we don’t know’. It was really hard to get the information they needed.

We just said we don’t know how severe it is but, we do need help.

Once the patient was stabilized and could be moved, she was helped through the tunnel.

Said Saskia:

By that point it had been about 40 minutes so we tried to move her back towards the campsite.

Caitlin [Grylls] and Baylee [Hennell] came to join me. I supported her walking through the cave, Caitlin held the light and Baylee brought the other things.

I couldn’t have got back through the cave with her if these guys weren’t there.

The epinephrine was administered at about 4PM and it wasn’t until 5:50PM when paramedics arrived on the scene to treat the patient.

“I’ve never been so proud of a group of students, just to do what they needed to do with no hesitation was pretty amazing to see,” said Jade.

“The way they spoke to the girl was so lovely,” said Saskia. “No one panicking, everyone was really calm.”

“It was scary and very stressful,” said Baylee. “If we didn’t have the EpiPen it could have been a very different outcome.”

Luck was on the patient’s side as the boy ran toward the group that was well-prepared with a first aid kit containing epinephrine. The high schoolers weren’t even supposed to be at that particular site, but the weather forecast changed their plans.

The rescuers were not so lucky: when the group returned to their campsite, they found their food had been ransacked by rats.

A spokesperson for EMS confirmed they received the call at 4:23PM:

We responded with one helicopter, one ambulance, and one operations manager. One patient in minor condition was assessed and treated at the scene.

We congratulate the campers for their valiant efforts that saved a life. The teachers and students are truly heroes.

Although we don’t know what triggered the victim’s reaction and whether she had been diagnosed with an allergy before, we’ll take this opportunity to remind you once again that epinephrine is the only drug that can halt and reverse the progression of anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction to a food, drug, insect venom, or environmental substance. But it can’t save your life if it’s sitting home in the medicine cabinet.

Take two epinephrine auto-injectors along everywhere, every time!

Source: Te Puke High School group come to tramper’s aid — Bay of Plenty Times

We’re Giving Away Two Auto-Injector Cases Every Day to Commemorate FAAW!

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Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom is CEO and "Blogger in Chief" of SnackSafely.com.

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